The SCHLOSS Roxburghe Hotel & Golf Course is a four AA star, 20-bedroom property located in the beautifully scenic Scottish Borders countryside, approximately an hour’s drive from Edinburgh.
I first visited The Roxburghe Hotel & Golf Course in Kelso, Scotland around five years ago, when it was still owned by the Duke of Roxburghe. He sold it in 2018 to the German developer 12.18 Investment Management and it reopened this year following a £30m redevelopment, rebranded as SCHLOSS Roxburghe Hotel & Golf Course.
On our first visit, the historic property was clearly in need of a cash injection and some TLC to bring it kicking and screaming into modern times, and that's certainly what the 12.18 group has achieved. The entire hotel has had a complete refurbishment and the results are pretty impressive.
Activities on offer are reflective of olde world Scottish sports - think shooting, fishing, hunting, and of course, golf.
Each of the 20 rooms falls into five distinct categories: Suite, Duplex Suite, Junior Suite, Deluxe Room, and Superior Room. German interior design firm Kitzig Interior Design developed the design concept, which was inspired by the unique location, the surrounding landscape and nature.
The interiors are a combination of Scottish patterns and colours, with rustic materials such as oak wood, natural stone and linen. Kitzig have successfully managed to balance tradition with contemporary design and have kept many of the original features including the fireplaces (a necessity during the cold Scottish winters) and stucco embellishments on the ceilings and walls.
Food & drink
The hotel is home to a variety of food and drink options including the 1745 Bar, Sunlaws (the fine dining restaurant), the State Room Lounge, and the Drawing Room, which is ideal for a relaxed afternoon tea.
The kitchen is helmed by Executive Chef Jacques-Olivier Borja, who has been at the hotel since 2016. His speciality is Scottish cuisine with a French twist - a nod to his French roots.
Chef Borja completed a three-year apprenticeship at the Bourgogne, a one star Michelin restaurant in his home town Troyes in Champagne, and he then continued his training in Paris for 18 years. He started as a kitchen assistant, working his way to the position of Executive Sous-Chef in the most renowned two and three Michelin star Restaurants, including Lucas-Carton and the prestigious Hotel de Crillon.
During his military service at 23 years old, he was deployed to serve President Jacques Chirac at de l’Elysée in 1996.
In 2006 he moved from Paris to Mexico City, where he was employed as Executive Sous-Chef for InterContinental Hotels. In 2008, he made the leap across the ocean to settle in the Scottish Borders.
The new culinary team is very international with staff from all corners of the world. They are devoted to sustainability and the environment, with a focus on sourcing sustainably sourced and locally sourced ‘Estate-to-Plate’ food where possible, with the chefs actively foraging the grounds of the estate for as much produce as possible. They then bring it to life with culinary delights inspired by a passion for Scotland’s abundance of fresh produce, meat, fish and game. Additionally, they strive to source produce from in and around the local area, working with local suppliers to support local businesses, whether it be a local supplier of tomatoes, potatoes, meat, fish or jam, making the best use of Scotland's natural produce. The game is sourced from the estate and to take the concept to the next level, the staff can provide guests with the full experience of ‘estate to plate’ where a guest can see the journey from the hunt, through to the kitchen and finally to the table.
Guests have a wealth of activities to choose from including use of a championship golf course and a comprehensive range of sporting pursuits from clay pigeon shooting to tomahawk throwing and fly fishing.
The Local Area
The hotel is located next to the town of Kelso, deep in the heart of the Scottish Borders. The landscape is always stunning come rain, hail or sunshine. If you love nature and wildlife, then this is the place for you.
Travelling further afield
I would recommend travelling to the town of Hawick, which is approximately a half an hour drive from the hotel. Here you will find everything that this region is famous for: cashmere, tweed, and of course, whisky! Hawick has a rich manufacturing heritage and an international reputation for producing quality goods. The main activity takes place within the four bridges of Hawick, where you will find a collection of weavers, knitters and distilleries, all of which produce premium Scottish products. And if you are missing city life, head to Scotland’s capital city, Edinburgh, which has a fabulous culinary offering, an edgy art scene and culture in abundance.
A summary of our stay at SCHLOSS Roxburghe Hotel & Golf Course
Standing in the lobby of the Balmoral, it is impossible not to be in awe of the beautiful surroundings and exemplary service, which is perfectly orchestrated from the moment that you arrive. Here nothing’s too much trouble and everything is done with a smile and a large dollop of Scottish charm- a refreshing change from the stuffy and rude staff that can often be found at establishments of this calibre.
Luxury in the heart of Edinburgh
The ultimate in luxury, this commanding 5 Star Rocco Forte landmark hotel consisting of 188 rooms and 20 suites, is conveniently located on bustling Princes Street in the heart of Edinburgh city centre, making it an ideal base for exploring the iconic city.
Upon arrival guests are welcomed by a cheerful porter donned in a smart Scottish inspired suit, (complete with a cape and tartan hat), where they are ushered inside an impressive lobby, which would be intimidating if it weren’t for the warm glow of the fire crackling away in the fireplace, creating a cosy ambiance and a welcome respite from the chilly Scottish weather.
A place where nothing is too much trouble
After checking in, a polite, yet unimposing porter is at hand to assist you with your luggage and whisk you to your room where upon request, he’ll unpack your luggage and provide you with a quick in-room demo of how to use the lights and TV (skills that are obviously presumed guests forget as soon as they leave the familiar surroundings of home and step out of their day-to-day routine and into the lap of luxury).
Scottish design and luxuries fit for the Queen
Tastefully restrained Scottish décor and artworks featuring iconic imagery of beloved Scottish actor Sean Connery is another nod to the Scottish roots of the hotel. Guest rooms are large and airy and feature comfortable beds, Italian marble bathrooms featuring an oversized marble bath, relaxing rain shower and complimentary REN luxury toiletries- providing an extremely relaxing overall experience.
Extra touches also include 24-hour room service, complimentary robe and slippers and a concierge service to provide recommendations to suit your every whim.
Indulge in delicious cuisine
If you can pry yourself from the comfort of your room, you must try one of the three restaurants located at the hotel. Options on hand include Hadrian’s Brasserie, Bollinger Bar at Palm Court or Michelin-starred restaurant Number One. For those seeking a livelier atmosphere, the stylish Balmoral Bar is the perfect place to enjoy a stylish cocktail.
Enjoy the sumptuous spa
Offering five treatment rooms, a 15 metre swimming pool, sauna, steam room, gymnasium and exercise studio, The Balmoral Spa is the perfect retreat for frazzled guests who want to recharge their batteries in style. A designated spa lift takes guests to the spa area- perfect for those who wish to pad around a robe and slippers (without the scrutiny of other hotel guests).
Cool blue mosaic tiles and muted lighting create a sense of serenity, providing the perfect retreat for rest and relaxation. Enjoy lazy laps or for the more enthusiastic, a vigorous swim in the pool or sweat out your toxins in the Finnish sauna or menthol scented steam room.
For those wishing to indulge in pampering sessions, a wealth of spa treatments are available for an additional cost. Guests can choose from a dizzying array of treatments certain to impress even the most seasoned spa goer including hot stone massages, facials, manicures and pedicures and detoxifying body wraps.
If you’re not sure which to choose, the helpful spa attendants are on hand to happily guide you through the options to provide the best recommendation based on your individual needs. Men’s and women’s day packages (which also include champagne afternoon tea or lunch at Hadrians) are also available and are the ultimate treat for couples really wanting to spoil themselves.
Take in the city sights
If you can bear to leave the luxuries of the hotel, no trip to Edinburgh is complete without taking in the majestic, internationally renowned Edinburgh Castle, which rises from the rocks high above Princes Street Gardens and is only a short walk away from the hotel. Once you’ve seen the castle, head to Princes Street or over the North Bridge to the Royal Mile for a spot of retail therapy.
It’s hard to fault the place, however, there is a distinct lack of modern technologies such as an iPod docking station and free in-room Wi-Fi.
Quite simply, if you’re looking for luxury and don’t want to have to lift a finger, than this is the place for you. So, what are you waiting for? Go on and spoil yourself with a luxury Scottish weekend that will have you longing for your next visit before you’ve even left.
Prices starting at £425 for a classic room to £1820 for a royal suite.
1 Princes Street
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